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I'm now back at school - and in a recent English lesson, we were asked to think about which books, if any, we enjoyed when we were younger. I immediately thought of my Enid Blyton phase - when I was six or seven, and becoming more of an independent reader, I started to really enjoy all of the Enid Blyton books, namely The Famous Five series.
But, there was one of her books that was the most creative of them all - well, actually it was a series of books about three children and their adventures up the Faraway Tree. The first book in this series is called The Enchanted Wood, and sets the scene for the books to come.
After thinking about The Enchanted Wood, and all of it's follow-ups, for a few days, I pulled out the book from somewhere deep inside my bedroom and started to read it, and remembered how much I liked it when I was little.
The big motivation for me to actually read the book was actually a really bad cold which has plagued me for the past few days - at the time there was absolutely nothing on TV, and I couldn't be bothered to go onto the net.
So I opened the now yellow-coloured pages of the book and started to relive my childhood.
The book revolves around three children - Jo, and his two sisters, Bessie and Fanny. For all their lives they had lived in the town - which they really hated. It was dirty and boring, and there was no chance to have adventures.
Luckily for them, their father got a job in a countryside, meaning that they had to move straight away. This was a great treat for the children - learning about, and being close to animals & birds, picking flowers, and having their own garden at last!
Their new cottage didn't disappoint - it was lovely-looking and there were some woods nearby. Nearly as soon as they moved in, the children rushed off to explore their new surroundings. They soon discovered that the nearby wood was unlike any other - it was known as The Enchanted Wood! It felt mysterious just to explore it, and it really sounded like the trees were whispering secrets to each other!
It took a while for the children to be able to explore the wood properly, though. There were the jobs of helping their parents to move in, and setting up the garden. But, the children worked well around the house, and were soon rewarded with a day to spend however they liked. Of course, the kids decided to spend the day in the wood.
And it was on that day that the kids discovered the most magical part of the wood - The Magic Faraway Tree! It was much taller than all of the other trees, and the children just knew that there was something mysterious about it. They were surprised and warned by some nearby brownies that the tree was dangerous. The top of it reaches far-away lands, which change almost every day. As the brownies said, "Sometimes it's top branches may be in Witchland, sometimes in lovely countries, sometimes in peculiar places that no-one has ever heard of. We never climb it, because we never know what might be at the top!"
This sounded very strange, but intriguing to the children. So do you think they took the warning? Of course they didn't - and they were soon climbing up the magical tree.
But the journey up the tree is almost as magical as what's at the top - because there are various creatures living in the tree on the way up - the children have a nasty encounter with the Angry Pixie, and with Dame Washalot, who continually throws her dirty washing water down the tree!
The trio make two really good friends in the tree - Moon Face, owner of a brilliant slide called the Slippery Slip, which goes all the way down the tree, and Silky, a kind fairy who takes a liking to the children.
Jo, Bessie and Fanny have loads of adventures up the tree - and the words of the brownies turn out to be very true. Some lands at the top of the tree can be very troublesome - like the Roundabout Land which almost leaves the children trapped forever, but some lands turn out to be great fun - like the Land of Take What You Want!
I'll be the first to admit that the book does seem to have dated a little since it was originally written. But, considering that it was actually first published in 1939, I'm really glad to see that it's still very easy to understand.
I felt that the book's plot got lost at one point - for me, the best part of reading the book when I was little was reading about the fun new lands that the children explored - but, at one point, it seemed that the kids getting trapped for too long in certain lands was a waste of pages!!!
The book truly is magical, though - it's easy to see why Enid Blyton is such a successful children's writer. Children will really enjoy reading about the magical lands that the children explore, and the strange people that they meet there!
So, instead of buying your sons, daughters, little brothers or sisters modern books this year - let them in on the magic of Enid Blyton, and the Faraway Tree.
Sorry for the review not being to my usual length today - there isn't really much more that I can say about the book, but I truly do praise Enid Blyton's writing style, and I wonder how she came up with some of the creative ideas for this book.
Recommended for children aged 6-10 years of age. 189 pages (Little Fox edition) Available on Amazon for £3.99 paperback.